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Healthy young balsa soaring to the skies.

Balsa’s fluffy ‘kapok’

Male becard with Balsa fluff for nest.

Female becard with Balsa fluff for nest.

Pale-legged Hornero (Pacific) nest in balsa tree.

How valuable is the balsa tree to nature?  Should I allow the continued felling of these trees (for the wind-turbine industry) to bother me?  Many people shrug and say, “Balsa is like a weed, it grows back fast.”

Yes, but —

Today I will smile and delegate the defense of balsas to National Geographic:

I will always treasure the first time I saw a kinkajou raiding a balsa of its nectar – a memory that will last ‘a lifetime.’

This kinkajou was raiding a Jackfruit tree at Poza Honda during October Big Weekend 2021.

What is the threshold?  How much is too much before the flora and fauna struggle to survive?

National Geographic’s story about the Balsa research in Panama can be found here:  Open all Night.

Sometimes photos become a much-needed spokesperson for the balsas.

Squirrel Cuckoo in Balsa

Golden Olive Woodpecker in Balsa

Buff-throated Saltator in Balsa

Squirrel Cuckoo in Balsa

Gray-lined Hawk in Balsa

Black Vultures, Cissus Vine and Balsa

Bananaquit in Balsa

“Lisa’s Friend the Balsa”  -I always wondered, “What made that hole?

“Lisa’s Friendship Tree, the Balsa” with Cissus (Grape family) vine.

“Lisa’s Friendship Tree, the Balsa,” felled then discarded.

“Lisa’s Friendship Tree, the Balsa”

The tree became the poster child for the show in 2019, and the present exposition (Step into my World) at Museo Portoviejo.

“The Muir Tree” and the balsa fragments.

“The Friendship Tree of Life” (Acrylic)

The Groove-billed Anis (below) inspected the felled balsas in the not-so-protected protected forest of Poza Honda.

Poza Honda Ecuador

Comrades of the Friendship Tree of Life.

Do trees bleed?  This one did.

How healthy is ‘Green Energy’ if it desecrates a vanishing ecosystem?

How healthy is all of that smoke?

Piece by piece, more fragmentation, like whittling away patches of skin.

My friend the balsa.

Poza Honda Ecuador

Internet search:  “How many balsa trees are used to make one wind turbine?”

I did not expect to get instant answers.

A few minutes before that search began, an article mentioned Green Energy, which raised my hackles when I read, “…Earth’s electricity needs could be met 11 times over if we filled our oceans with wind turbines…”

“Fill our oceans with wind turbines?”                                                                  At the cost of deforesting Ecuador and other areas of the Neotropics?

(Lisa’s eyes have never been so wide!)

Between Tosagua and Bahia de Caraquez/Ecuador

My search for data about wind turbine construction sailed me straight to recently published articles about this ‘green energy’ affecting Ecuador.

A new site to me – ‘Open Democracy’ – asked in a story published today, “What has the destruction of balsa trees in the Amazon rainforest got to do with the wind power industry in Europe?

Sadly, more than you think.

That story is here:  A green paradox: Deforesting the Amazon for wind energy in the Global North

I sometimes refer to an expanding group of concerned people as the ‘Davids’ who are building strength against the Goliaths of the planet.

Giovanni Ruiz doesn’t wait for an event, he picks up trash when he sees it.

Another recent story in Spanish from el Pais:


And one more story of interest from January 2021 breaks down the details.  Wind-watch.org shares the story from the Economist.  A worrying windfall – The wind-power boom set off a scramble for balsa wood in Ecuador 

The open Democracy video, is well worth the time to learn more about the dilemma:

As the midnight hour approaches, I hold you all in my heart.  Thank you for caring and for your empathy.  The earth thanks you.  The balsas thank you. The kinkajous thank you as well.

Lets all be quiet now so that the Kinkajous can dine in peace!

Goodnight, Kinkajou!  Goodnight, World.